Treasure Island

imageThis week, with the TV schedules groaning with yuletide quiz shows, repeats and the like, a little gem appeared unexpectedly.

I’m not much of a fan of books ‘adapted for TV’ due to the fact that: (a) they are generally classic books that I know and love, and (b) they get wrecked.

So when Treasure Island came up the satellite planner, a decision had to be made. Watch or pass?

The Offspring and I had just started reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s great classic, so I thought, let’s give it a go.

What a surprise.

Yes, some bits of the story had been mucked about with (poor Dr. Livesey) but on the whole, really good.

Suitably bloodthirsty, suitably swashbuckling.

Best bits? Knowing that Flint’s old shipmates are hidden in the crew of the Hispaniola, the ship, the atmosphere, the locations, the ‘X’. Oh, and having lovely (!) discussions with the Offspring about how the Royal Navy used to maintain discipline on board it’s ships.

Spot of keel-hauling before dinner, anyone?

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Goodbye to the Old and Hello to the New

In common with lots of folk, at this juncture in the year, I’m sitting in front of the laptop weighing up to good, the bad and the down-right ugly that 2014 has brought.

On the upside, our tiny Family Unit is still “functioning”. The Offspring is still as mad, wild and fun as ever. My partner in crime is still … long suffering … and wonderful. And horses continue to be a big part of our lives.

All of this goes to counter the gloomier events of this past twelve months where ill health has tried it’s best to scupper plans and hopes.

So, it’s time to wave goodbye to last year’s disappointments and start again tomorrow with a clean slate.

Don’t you just love New Year?!

Happy Holidays.

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The Scottish Question

Our household is “half Scottish”, but considers itself staunchly “British”, which means that we look upon the potential break up of the 307 year old Act of Union, with great sadness.

Whilst the Scots have every right to choose their own future, it’s not really clear how a potential vote for independence from the United Kingdom will effect either the Scots, or the rest of us.

Except, of course, that life will inevitably become more expensive. And I’ll have to remember to describe myself as “English”. And Hadrian’s Wall will presumably have to be re-built.

Surely, a compromise, rather than a messy divorce, is possible?

Let’s stick together.

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There … And Back Again

Well, Team DG are back in the UK. Much to the relief of the hotel which we’ve just left behind in fun, fab Mexico.

Everyday we presented a new challenge …

… Could the Concierge please find our 6ft, yellow, inflatable bed, which disappeared off the balcony of our room on the seventh floor?

… Could the Concierge please locate a large chocolate and strawberry birthday cake, specially ordered and decorated for our daughter, which disappeared (partly eaten) in transit to our room, from one of the hotel’s restaurants?

… Could the Concierge please fix … Toilet, broken shower, broken balcony door?

The list just went on.

Could the Concierge please arrange a late check out?

(Phone call to manager ….. “It’s the Eeeenglish”)


Actually, the hotel was lovely, the staff friendly and we genuinely had a great time.

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Horse Riding and Dystonia. Progress Report 27

Progress Report 27. Hmm. Progress? Perhaps not quite the right word. As the weather’s been so good, I’ve spent a lot of time out hacking, mainly due to extreme nagging from the Offspring who likes going in the school as much as a dose of homework.

However, a parental edict has been issued to the effect that “this has got to stop and we need to get back to doing proper 20m circles with the boards up, rather than 30m eggs in a field”. The Offspring’s response to this was to show me a disappearing back, horse’s bum and four clean hooves as she motored off into the distance. Guess I’m doing that on my own, then.

All is not lost though. It is still possible to do schooling exercises out hacking. Someone has started putting up fence posts in one of the fields we use – a good long stretch of them, all nicely spaced. And they’ve proved quite useful for doing different ‘bending exercises’ in different gaits. It is handy to have markers. Hence the point about circle sizes. I’ve found it very difficult to judge a 20m space in a flat, 10 acre field, so I’ve tried to think about the angle of bend, rather than guess the size of the space.

With September fast approaching, it’s time to get another competion entry planned. Life events have intervened in recent weeks, but it’s never too late to get back on track.

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View From The Balcony

Puerto AventurasHaving had a crazy few weeks, full of ups (cantering across fields with the Offspring) and downs (family bereavement, crazy work position), Team DG have decamped to Mexico, to try and pull ourselves back together. We’ve been here nearly a day, and the well tested recipe of sunshine, palm trees and no work is already working it’s magic.

This year, we’ve moved further down the coast to the section between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It will be interesting to see what the surrounding area is like now, as we haven’t been here for many years.

Things started well with a surprising, and unusually easy, transit through the often chaotic, Cancun airport. Our basic plan for this ordeal consists of “Get off plane, get through border control, get bags from baggage reclaim, then RUN to Customs as fast as possible”. Woebetide the poor person who gets their bags off last (Customs staff have been known to take F..O..R..E..V..E..R to clear all the passengers off an international flight). Once Customs cleared, brace yourself for the onslaught from the assorted collection of vociferous airport porters who try to grab your bags. This time we got lucky. Wheeled suitcases formed up like a Roman “Tortoise”, we barrelled through their massed ranks (shouting “No gracias”), like a hot knife through butter. We burst out of the airport and got straight into our minibus. With no-one else to pick up, we hammered down the coast road as fast as our driver could go.

Hasta luega amigos.

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Competition Success

Dressage in the rain.

Dressage in the rain.

Pouring rain and the news that my chosen ride for this evening’s dressage competition had been withdrawn by the owner, were not the best of things to kick off proceedings.

Fortunately, trusty Tosca came to the rescue and we did a very creditable test and came third out of a class of ten or more. So, well done us.

Actually, it’s a miracle, for more reasons than one. Normally, our school holds it’s competition activities in it’s indoor arena, but across the summer, things move outside. So, if it’s raining, …. you get wet. And yes, we got drenched.

Aside from the weather, darling Tosca was just not up for dressage this evening. Hit by sudden onset of ‘Leaden Hooves’ Syndrome (Friday night dressage? You’re having a laugh!), the poor old girl seemed very upset by another horse in the collecting ring. I was just upset by the rider of same.

This particular nag had arrived outside the warm up area, on it’s own, tack in a mess having galloped from the car park. Not good. It looked slightly distressed and out of control. I saw it next in the collecting ring where Tosca and I were trying to work through our standard warm up routine of transitions and flexing. Tosca couldn’t take her eyes off it. And rightly so, neither could I. It’s rider proceeded to ‘motorbike’ the poor thing round and round in a fast canter while shouting at it. Having nearly run us over, I decided that Tosca and I would be safer out in a paddock. Once we were away from the mayhem, with grass under the hooves, things started picking up. Until, of course, we were joined by Motorbiking Rider and her unhappy horse…oh boy!

Whilst I feel that Tosca and I did a good job this evening, there’s no doubt that ‘my’ (she isn’t mine) lovely girl won’t take me any further down the dressage route. Everything about how she holds herself needs work. Alternatively, she would be a great hack. Kind, generous, gentle and sensible. If I could afford her, it would be lovely to buy her for the Offspring, who would proceed to spoil her to bits.

Oh well. I’m off to open the wine, wring out my clothes and thank goodness, that I don’t ride as badly as I thought.

Have a good week.

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